Our Christmas cards this year have red hearts on them. I had scrolled and scrolled through the available designs, not satisfied, until I found those. What I thought was just cute turned into something hugely appropriate. They read, “Merry Christmas, from our hearts to yours.”

Because of the recent loss of my Nana, my heart has ached a little more than usual this Christmas, stirring up even more thoughts and prayers for others. Two young ones, states apart, also passed away suddenly this Christmas time, both in the prime of their life and leaving behind a young bride or groom or young children. So much is also happening that we don’t fully see. Hearts so dear to God have confided quietly about their feelings over loss, pain, deep confusion, depression.

I grabbed a random pen out of my junk drawer the other night and took it to journal. It was red. I looked at it, surprised, then thought to myself that was an appropriate color to pour out all that was on my heart. One hour and five red-filled pages later, I was seeing red everywhere.

The red on this earth is the color of hurt and halt. STOP, there is a problem here. STOP, don’t go here. STOP, no chance here. STOP, you aren’t wanted here. STOP, no opportunity here. STOP, there is an injury or loss here. STOP, this loss is the end of that dream for you. And the red blinks loud on top of ambulances and screams, “Hurry, rush, crisis, emergency!” and red in the sunsets means night is coming. Red is the color of flushed faces and tear-filled eyes asking if there is any real solution, or any real hope. And underneath it all, the common refrain shouting silently, inwardly, is the begging plea,

“Won’t someone help me?”

“My. Heart. Is. Dying.”

This earth may see the outside of your red. They may see the outer trappings of your loss, your confusion, your strife, your struggle, your tears. But there is much going on on the inside. And it often gets forgotten, or worse, buried alive on purpose. What’s buried and hidden couldn’t possibly hurt so badly, right? But our God sees. He sees all of your red, red, heart. Your heart has not been forgotten. When I lean in quietly, and ask for the red love of Heaven to replace the red hurt of earth, I remember this:

Our God did not come to bind up our wounds so that we could go be part of the Kingdom assembly line and do our job and our duty and check off the boxes of a useful life. Our God, Our Immanuel, Our Savior, came to bind up our wounds and then rescue our hearts so that we could find our way back to our rightful place at the banquet table of love and pour out the wholeness of a passionate, radiant, loving life that is full of every joy and every good gift and every fiery spark of a heart alive and well and rejoicing.

The red of Heaven is the red of love and life. LOVE, that flowed freely down to give you abundant life, and yes, even here and now. LOVE, that shows up in surprising ways to support and strengthen you. LOVE, that calls you by your name and tells you your rightful place is right by Jesus’ side and yes, He wants you there. LOVE, that speaks truth to you and opens your heart to be willing to receive it. LOVE, that softens the hard places and waters ground that has been dry and barren for too long. LOVE, that fills you in places you thought you might always be empty. LOVE is the blood transfusion that is given to you in the emergency room of your life and it’s ready and waiting for you, so that you may really come alive again.

When you find yourself overwhelmed by the red of this earth, please know that the healing can begin with a word. This is not too simplistic. This is pure truth. “He sent His word, and healed them…” Psalm 107:20. When we feel that our heart cannot contain the hurt anymore, we can open up to hear Him speak. This word is His command against the oppressive dark, His proclamation, His spoken beauty over our life, His will and His plan and His destiny for us. He speaks, and the healing red of heaven begins:

“And when I passed by you, and saw you struggling…I said to you…’Live!’ Ezek. 16:6

So yes, our cards had red hearts on them this year. From our hearts to yours, Merry Christmas. And may we see and hear, all around us, the red of Heaven…

His love shown so many ways…

reaching out to rescue us.